Re-reading a book on the life of an unremarkable Irish country woman born in 1928, I was struck again by the resilience, hope, faith and acceptance of her fate.

She doubted many things in her ordinary, extraordinary life; her middle years spent in England like many of her country women; but she never doubted her right to live in a free Ireland.

Born into a Republican family she was reared on the injustices meted out to her poor country as her own life weathered servitude, poverty, sickness and all the tragedies that make up a personal history.

At the same time, I’m reading Victoria Hislop’s ‘Those Who Are Loved,’ a family saga set against the backdrop of wartime occupation in Greece and the subsequent civil war.

The two books couldn’t be more different in setting and pace and yet so alike in the fierceness of the determination of the two central women to set their countries free.

One grew up in the Irish Free State, where homes were still divided in the bitter aftermath of the civil war, and the country lanes were dotted with hand spun memorials to the fallen and the murdered.

The other fought with the Communists against foes who were once allies, and at war’s end, like so many, was tracked down, captured, re-educated by torture – by her own people who’d learned well at the hands of the fascists.

One book a biography, the other a novel. One woman real, the other a beautifully drawn imaginary portrait.

Laying down the books what stayed with me was the essence, the spirit of both, and the feeling that one had grasped the mood of both countries.

I know one country well, the other not at all. I know France well, or so I think, and certainly have grasped both history and mood all the more for living here.

When I write about two of the three countries mentioned, I do so with the confidence of close contact; of stories told and remembered; of links forged republic to republic.

I do the same with England and Scotland although I haven’t set foot in either for years. But I lived and worked in both. I switched listening modes from London to Glasgow as easily as switching TV channels and in Scotland reported on and witnessed a country rapidly evolving, gathering within it a fresh pride, a steely core to rid itself of dependence on Westminster. A desire – long before the words were so grotesquely appropriated by the Brexiters – to take back control.

I ‘got’ it. And I ‘got’ the English too in their casual, arrogant ignorance and lack of interest in anything other than them.

I got it having grown up in a country which also was powering towards a new destiny; remembering the past but not in thrall to it; looking forward to Europe and not back to the chains of an inglorious Empire.

So, when I comment, I comment from a little knowledge, from a tapping in to, not just the history, but the spirit.

It is why I am constantly surprised by commentators who pronounce on Scotland, on referendums and on the Party, which is the driving force for Independence.

Many words are expended on reasons why that should not be, using suspect financial ‘facts’ and endless repetition of half, long negated arguments that research would have knocked down immediately.

Some of the arguments against Scotland leaving the Union are well-reasoned and well worth consideration but these too are knocked down by the lamentable chippiness of some who are as blind as the commentators they dismiss.

It’s a word blindness activated by what is seen as a malevolent force robbing and battering the Scots from time immemorial. That is not the truth but there is a truth contained within it.

What irritates me above all in most of these comment pieces coming from over the Border, is absence, awareness. Absence of any attempt to delve under the demands; to seek the almost indefinable – the spirit of a people.

Any reading of history shows that movements grow slowly until suddenly, like a high tide, they gather and form until the point they are unstoppable.

Sometimes though the expected tide doesn’t reach its watermark and flops against the bulwarks – becalmed, almost shocked at its sudden halt.

If not careful, the Independence movement could reach that point and make no mistake, nothing is being spared by the Westminster Opposition to ensure it does.

Confidence can be chipped away; statistics twisted to enable doubt to take seed; groups encouraged to agitate from within with public spats that only increase the nervousness of those unsure and uncertain if they want to leave the familiar.

Cynicism in these times is good – but not too much. Passion is good – but must be controlled. Anger is good – but swallow pride and turn it outwards not back into the group.

Much is made of Ireland’s struggle for independence and its success on the European stage. Some believe a whole nation rose up. In fact, the Easter rising was begun by a handful, ridiculed by Dubliners as they marched to the Four Courts.

Captured, they could have gone down as yet another minor episode. But the British made a mistake and murdered them in Kilmainham Gaol, creating heroes and firing up the land.

The British always make a mistake because they never understand the soul of a country.